There’s nothing quite like heading to Fenway in September. You put on a warm sweater, grab a hot dog and then settle in to watch the guy who played Voldemort in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” perform the “To be or not to be” scene from “Hamlet.” What, that isn’t what you normally do at Fenway?
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s got you covered, then. The company is putting on what artistic director Steve Maler calls “an evening of Shakespeare’s greatest hits. It’s fantastic scenes from iconic Shakespeare plays — 'Hamlet,' 'Othello,' 'Midsummer Night’s Dream,' 'Twelfth Night' — all in digestible bits.” You've heard of Shakespeare in the park? Now it's Shakespeare in the ballpark.
Over the next couple of days while the Red Sox are out of town playing the Orioles, a stage is being constructed over the home field dugout to put on a special one night only performance of the Bard’s hits. Expect to see a few familiar faces, as well. In addition to Christian Coulson (the aforementioned portrayer of a young Voldemort), “Glee” dad Mike O’Malley will be there, as well as Neal McDonough, who you’ve probably seen “Minority Report” or “Captain America.” Both are Boston natives.
According to Maler, all of the actors were pretty excited to get the chance to perform at Fenway. O’Malley can be seen performing in parts of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “As soon as this idea of a performance at Fenway Park happened, he was right on board,” says Maler.
As to why they’re putting on Shakespeare at Fenway, well, it was Mayor Menino’s idea. “About three years ago, Mayor Menino was talking to Larry Lucchino after one of the games and saying, ‘it’s great that you have these big concerts here…but you really need to bring more ahts to the pahk,’ as he loves to say, so he said you should bring Shakespeare to the park,” says Maler.
Maler thinks it’s a great marriage of concepts. “To me, Fenway Park is sort of hallowed ground in Boston, and everybody feels the warmth and love of being in that space, so bringing together these two great Summer traditions, the Red Sox and Shakespeare on the Common, seemed like the perfect fit to us.”
The company initially offered up about 2000 tickets for free, but the tickets were snatched up in three hours. There are paid tickets left, though, so you still have a chance to see the company pull it all together. With all the actors coming in from different places, some of the scenes won’t actually be blocked out until Thursday night and Friday afternoon before the show. When asked how it will all come together in time, Maler laughs and says, “You know, it’s an interesting question, and I will be able to tell you in full on Saturday morning, after it’s over.”
If you go
Shakespeare at Fenway
Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m.